Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
The rich green foliage of this unique orchid sits atop a chain-like mass of long roots and bears a cluster of deliciously fragrant gold and fuchsia flowers in early summer. Houllet's aerides is a fairly large evergreen epiphytic orchid native to the hot, sultry lowlands of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It has a growth habit that is called vandaceous (like Vanda orchids) with extremely long aerial roots and a fan-like leaf mass atop the stem-like pseudobulb.
The leaves are short, strap-like with two lobes at their ends. They are leathery and green and borne in fan-like clusters. In late spring and into summer, a drooping flower cluster dense with blooms is produced. It has as many as twenty light gold flowers with a white and fuchsia lip that is ornately ruffled. Spots of fuchsia are scattered across the petals and sepals, and the blooms emit a spicy and sweet citrusy scent. Some plants have paler yellow flowers with pure pink lips.
Grow Aerides houlletiana in nearly full sun to very bright partial shade mounted upon a tree branch, in a wide-grate or basket. With its long roots, it requires a very open breakable basket that will permit repositioning into a larger basket or tree mount. Take care not to damage roots when transplanting. This is a tropical orchid, so it requires a warm, frost-free location. It grows without soil with its roots exposed. High humidity, excellent air circulation, and frequent rainfall from spring through fall is ideal. Allow the plant to become drier and receive more light in autumn and winter. From spring to fall, apply diluted liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. Leaves can scorch in hot afternoon sun, especially with low ambient humidity. Leaves also become overly yellow-green when light is too intense. Lack of sunlight also can prevent flowering.
This is a lovely specimen plant for a hot sun room or greenhouse in cold climates, or as an accent plant upon a tropical tree trunk or in a hanging basket for the patio. Use the cut flowers for hair decals, table garnishes or floral arrangements.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 10
USDA Hardiness Zone
13 - 15
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
16"-36" / 40.6cm - 91.4cm
10"-16" / 25.4cm - 40.6cm
Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer
Container, Cutflower, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns